Watch Your Language!

Mar 14, 2016 11:00 AM ET

What are the environmental “bad words” to which society has become desensitized? I think “disposable” is one. We need to replace it with “reusable.”  

By the time you read this post, we will have our long-awaited answer. Since November, we have been asking a question that has been asked literally billions of times in the history of the world, but it still feels so unique and personal when we ask it. And our anxiety is heightened by the knowledge that our answer, whatever it is, will impact the rest of our lives. As I write this, we need to only wait one more day before we finally know.

Tomorrow, we learn if our baby will be a girl or a boy.

Chantel and I have often been asked if we are hoping for one or the other. My wife answered that question perfectly the other day, so I’ll restate her answer here – we are hoping for whatever our child is.

Regardless, this moment will be one in a string of moments that fundamentally change our lives. We are now caretakers for another person, and the added responsibilities will only continue to grow. We welcome and feel blessed by the challenge.

I was reflecting on one of those responsibilities recently, specifically being mindful of the language we use around our child. Neither of us is prone to cursing, so I don’t envision it being a problem. But even beyond curse words, I’ve come to realize there are concepts from which I want to protect my young child. “Cruelty,” “torture” and “murder,” for instance, are words I only hope to explain to my child when he or she is old enough to truly understand the evil embedded in them. In a sense, they are as much “bad words” as curses are.

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Valerie Bennett
Ray C. Anderson Foundation
+1 (770) 317-5858